Statutory Instrument gazetted to spy on citizens?!
TO combat telecommunications fraud and payment evasion, regulator Portraz has now been ordered to install a system that will record the two numbers in any telecommunications call that has at least one Zimbabwean node.
The Postal and Telecommunications (Telecommunications Traffic Monitoring System) Regulations, 2021 were gazetted as Statutory Instrument 95 of 2021 last week by Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Jenfan Muswere.
The stress of the regulations is purely financial, to deal with revenue cheating by users or services, with no attempt to interfere with licensed service providers of any ICT service or their customers so long as they are dealing properly with the financial aspects.
In setting out the objective, the regulations state: “In order to ensure accurate revenue collection, the objective of these regulations is to provide for the conditions, requirements and procedures for monitoring of telecommunications traffic in Zimbabwe.
“Through the installation of a civil tool that will monitor and measure all forms of telecommunication interconnect traffic handled by telecommunications licensees, it is expected that this will:
ensure generation of reliable statistics for all incoming international calls and national traffic on limited call detail records; detect, track and block bypass fraud through an anti-fraud system and ensure the reduction of network traffic fraud;
provide International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) details and SIM card profile for fraudulent SIM cards; verify the international returns of telecommunication licensees for international telecommunications traffic.
The regulations stress in several areas that the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Portraz) is barred from monitoring content, and even from being able to monitor content.
“A telecommunications traffic monitoring system or monitoring hardware and software will only be installed over such dedicated links with signalling information where it shall be physically impossible for the authority to record, monitor or tap into the content of any personal communication.”
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